Craft a Noteworthy Cover Letter

Before you apply for a job, it is critical that your application package, including your cover letter, is the best that it can be. Learn how to write a cover letter that leaves a great impression and makes a potential employer want to know more about you.

On this page:

How to Write a Cover Letter

Get their attention (Paragraph 1)

  • Explain why are you writing this letter.
  • Indicate the position you are applying for and how you learned of the position.
  • If you are “prospecting” to determine if the organization has unpublished opportunities, or acting on a referral from one of your professional friends, indicate how you learned about the organization.
  • Integrate the company research you'd done by explaining why you want to work there.
  • Outline the specific reasons why you are ideal for the position.  
  • Show off your experience!

Make them want to know more. (Paragraph 2)

  • Describe yourself and why you're worth inviting for an interview by demonstrating to the employer how your interests, education and experience fit the requirements described in the position postings. 
  • Show, don’t tell. Use specific examples that illustrate your related skills and experience. Your goal is to set yourself apart from other applicants.
  • If you are prospecting, describe how do you see yourself fitting with this organization.
  • Refer to your resume, but don't list the contents of it. 
  • Emphasize how your variety of experiences and transferable skills that you've gained are connected to the position and will benefit the organization. 

Hint: It's OK to break this into two paragraphs and use bullets!

Make it easy for them to take the next step. (Paragraph 3)

  • Refer to your resume for further details about your experiences and qualifications.
  • Reiterate why you want to work at that specific organization.
  • Offer your contact information.
  • Thank the employer for their time and consideration.

Sincerely,

(Your Signature)

Name

Tips to Make Your Cover Letter Stand Out

  • Customize your cover letter to each employer and each position to demonstrate your interest and that you’ve done your homework.
  • Highlight specific examples from your experiences that demonstrate why you're a match for the position and the employer.
  • Be clear and get to the point.
  • Use the body of the email as your cover letter. Your resume can be an attachment. 
  •  Keep it to one page if possible.
  • Try not to repeat your resume content.
  • Proofread, Proofread, Proofread. Ask family or friends to check for spelling and grammatical errors.

Additional Resources

Samples

Visit the Career Services website for many great resources, including resume, CV, cover letter and thank you note samples.